Northern Powerhouse plans hailed as biggest growth opportunity since Victorian era
The 'Northern Powerhouse' could be the most substantial growth opportunity for England's Northern regions since Victorian times, according to a leading research institute.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is the UK's leading progressive think tank, and IPPR North is its dedicated arm dealing with the north of England, with bases in both Manchester and Newcastle.
The influential think tank said that the North West, Humber and North East, and Yorkshire all could gain from the new proposal, which would have a significant positive impact on the future of the UK economy.
The institute's analysis found the economy of the three big Northern regions already stood at £289bn, bigger than those of all the devolved nations’ economies combined.
Ed Cox, IPPR North director, said: “We have seen past attempts at ‘regional policy’ fall by the wayside, but the Northern Powerhouse has momentum and has galvanised leaders in the North.”
However, Cox also added a note of caution: “But investment, leadership and urgency are the key ingredients for turning Northern Powerhouse rhetoric into national economic prosperity. The momentum is building, the benefits are great – the opportunity is there to be seized for Northern prosperity to create national prosperity.”
Leading figures in West Yorkshire have put forward a preferred option to ministers based around the functional economic area of the Leeds city region.
They suggest that more than a decade of economic collaboration between local councils and businesses could be built on by the introduction of fiscal devolution. This would include 100% retention of the local growth in business rates and the ability for local authorities to introduce a Supplementary Business Rate.
The funds raised would then be invested in major infrastructure schemes.